So you like Game of Thrones, huh?
George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series has captured the minds of millions around the world. Martin’s popular series has spanned eleven novels and eight seasons of a highly lauded television series which has won multiple awards. Fans are eagerly awaiting the latest novel with baited breath. The war between the Starks, Targaryens, and Lannisters provides audiences with bloody battles, scheming and plotting, and a constant shifting of power. But I bet you didn’t know that this much beloved series is loosely based on real life historical events and people.
Yes, that’s right! Game of Thrones is loosely based on the events of English history commonly known as the Wars of the Roses. From 1455 to 1485 the English dynasties of York and Lancaster fought for the throne of England with control of the kingdom going back and forth depending on who was victorious in battle. Normally having several sons was a good thing for a king to have but Edward III ended up having five sons survive to adulthood which created quite a bit of power-hungry descendants who wanted to wear the crown.
England in the Middle Ages needed a strong, militaristic, and charismatic ruler and unfortunately Henry VI was none of those things. Rather he was weak, pacifistic, and pious and would have been much better suited to life as a monk rather than a king. His father had been the conqueror King Henry V who had finally defeated the French and become heir to that country’s throne. His early death of dysentery left his infant son the new King of England and France. Unfortunately Henry VI would end up losing the French crown and barely retain his English crown before finally being deposed and allegedly killed by Yorkists in 1471.
Edward IV ruled England in relative peace until his untimely death in 1483 leaving behind a young heir who was only twelve years old. The unexpected death of Edward IV left two factions fighting for control of the new king: his maternal relations, the Woodvilles, and his paternal uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester. Similarly, in Martin’s Game of Thrones, the young King Tommen is caught between the warring parties of his mother, Cersei Lannister and his young wife, Margaery Tyrell of High Garten. Both instances have tragic ends for the young rulers but to find out what happened you will have to check out the novels of George R.R Martin as well as the many books about the Wars of the Roses the library has in its collection!
Books on the Wars of the Roses